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Brigham Young University
Laboratory glass blowers find themselves victim of the digital age
Laboratory glass blowers find themselves victim of the digital age

Stan Sheldon places his blowtorch between two spinning glass tubes. He blows into a mouthpiece that looks like a cigarette perched on his bottom lip. Air enters one end of a tube and puffs up through smoldering, wilting glass. As the tubes appear near collapse, they fuse and bursts of light explode inside — tiny fireworks of blue, red and orange trying to escape. Sheldon is the last remaining glass blower at UC Riverside, where he designs and creates glassware strictly for scientific research on campus. "I don't make swans," he said with a sly smile. At one time, UC Riverside had three full-time glass blowers and two glass shops. But over the years, as demand for...

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